26 January 2010

Many Zeros, One Hero

Nearly five months after my last post on the USCF's political plight -- Wrapup on the 2009 USCF EB Election -- the lawsuits and the long ordeal are over. For a press release by the USCF, see USCF Agrees to Settle Lawsuits with Susan Polgar and Paul Truong [USchess.org]; for expert commentary, see Settlement in Dispute That Riveted the Chess World [NYtimes.com]. Worth bringing to wider attention is a note of appreciation posted to the USCF's members-only forum, A special thanks to Bill Hall:

No matter whether anyone likes or dislikes the settlement, the fact is that it *is* a settlement. USCF now has the opportunity to move forward and get back to promoting chess which is why most of us are members of this organization in the first place.

However, I truly believe that every member needs to take the time to send a thanks to Bill Hall for the superhuman devotion and dedication he gave to the effort to resolve this issue in USCF best interests as best he could. Let's face it, the guy conversed with 14 different defendants and multiple sets of attorneys on a daily basis oftentimes including nights and weekends for over two years. Think of the stress and the toll on his and his family's well being. I honestly do not believe that there are many people who would have done this for USCF or any other organization.

Thank you Bill Hall for all your time, energy, and efforts to do what you truly believed to be best for USCF. We look forward to seeing your ability to lead the organization out of the valley and up to a higher plateau.

The USCF's Executive Director responded in the same thread:

I appreciate the sentiment, but if you want to thank me, do so by thanking my staff who picked up the slack as best they could in the face of staff reductions, reductions in pay, and serious uncertainty. You have a lot of good people working for you, and they have been through a difficult period. There are also a lot of issues pending out there that have not received my proper attention through this process, and to any of you affected by this, I apologize and begin some much needed catch up work so we can turn our attention to the future of the Federation. Also, this as been a very difficult time for all of the defendants individually, and in their representative capacities. At times emotions have run high and at times feelings have been hurt. I want to thank everyone that has been involved in the USCF's defense as part of the joint defense agreement. [...]

What has shocked me in talking with so many is just how much we all really do have in common. It is easy to get mired in a contest of wills over our differences, but to be great we must find a way to recognize our commonalities and grow from there. That is how we must move forward. Chess is bigger than each of us, but chess can only grow through all of us. I owe so much to chess. That is why I am here. I want kids to have the same opportunities that I have had, and I want adults to have the opportunity to enjoy and love the game as I have grown to love it. In seventy years the Federation has had its ups and downs and it has persevered. Seventy years is something to fight for.

Bill Hall, Executive Director, USCF

Thanks, Bill Hall! Thanks, staff! Seventy years of positive support for chess is indeed something to fight for.

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